With his wife and children away in the wife's home country, Adam combats his loneliness by corresponding with Soukaina. As they write letters back and forth, they discover they are soul mates and vow to share their dreams, their hopes, and their lives. But will their love survive the distance and the challenges of their complicated lives?
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By HASSAN DIBICH
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Hassan Dibich
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Chapter OneGod has given you a spirit with wings on which to soar into the spacious firmament of love and freedom. Is it not pitiful then that you cut your wings with your own hands and suffer your soul to crawl like an insect upon the earth? - Kahlil Gibran
Today I needed an aspirin to take care of such a headache. I do not understand why I'm searching for the unknown. I had to ask for permission to travel to see my family in Vegas. It took six weeks before my travel permit was approved and Savanna took me to the airport in Norfolk. As all good wives do, she was encouraging me to not get in trouble and not to talk too much. She was always worried about my mouth or tongue, which already brought me trouble on a flight.
I met a person who was tall and strong in their later life. During the flight, I discovered that he was a military man. He was a Navy Seal and a captain, I believe. According to his business card, he was named Collin. He was traveling to San Diego while I was going to Las Vegas. In the next seat over, near the aisle, was a young woman. During the first hour of the flight, she was writing what looked to be a science paper. She was busy typing and Collin and I spoke in French so she could not follow our discussion.
An hour before arrival, she joined us in the conversation-in English. She was an aspiring dermatologist and I found her to be a well-rounded person. I was astonished to learn that she had visited Greece. As we got deeper into the conversation, she let it slip that she knew several members in the Greek mafia. She also told us of her travels all around the world. Her significant other was from Dublin and she said he would never return there because of a certain problem he was facing. From what she said, I gathered that he was around forty years old and that she was around thirty-five or in her late thirties. It's very hard to find a woman who will give you an exact age or an exact weight. It's not a culture thing-it's a worldwide woman thing.
In the end, I concluded that she had a passion for food. I decided to recommend the Paul Baucus Restaurant in Lyon and insisted that she make a reservation three years in advance. She told me about a restaurant in Paris, but she felt really guilty that the name had slipped her mind. I gave her my e-mail address and asked her to send the name to me if she ever remembered it. She did before I left the airport and I was happy that she had sent the information to me so promptly. I thanked her with a nice e-mail.
I awoke with Adam screaming that he had just received an e-mail from Soukaina. He was so excited that she had written to him. Soukaina was a twenty-six-year-old Moroccan woman who didn't really look her age. However, once I saw her picture, I knew that she was a bit hysterical. Adam's energy always attracted hysterical girls.
She had been e-mailing him and telling him that she had spoken to her parents and they would love to finally meet him. However, with such short notice, it would be very difficult because he had not told her that he was presently a father of two girls and a boy-and that he had been married for the last eleven years. I have come to realize that, in such a relationship, things become dry because they are in need of a little bit of maintenance. But having three children, fighting to see eye-to-eye, and trying to make ends meet make it very difficult to concentrate on romance within the relationship. Collin was now far away from his wife and his children and, at the age of forty, it made him realize what he was missing.
What I found really amazing was that my sister found her husband talking to young girls yesterday-and she got jealous. Her husband had gotten pissed off and did not want to go to work. She kept calling almost every single minute and then he came to my house. I had to calm him, but she found herself without a key to her house. She had wanted to change her clothes and she had to work like homeless. This is the story of people who do not know how to compromise-and the major point is that they needed to use their minds.
I woke up today and the market was down-my own losses were about two points. Savannah was waiting for me to pay her return fare to Brazil in order to resume her work. I had made promises to her-saying that I would send her-but I had made a big mistake in trading shares in the hope that it would turn around. It did not. I still had another day to rebuild the account and I hoped that the situation could be resolved. All that I was asking was to be able to purchase her airfare, to pay the restitution, and to make ends meet. I was hoping to make progress from where I began.
I am happy to read your letter. With each letter, I feel that there is a stronger connection between us. Do you feel it, too? I hope that you feel the same way. I will not deceive my heart-or yours-and I hope not to cause you any pain. I have promised myself with full confidence that I will be honest with you. Therefore, I will always get straight to the point with you.
It is unbelievable how many things we have in common. We have really connected and I do not know where to begin. I have so many emotional feelings toward you. Even though I have not seen you in person, I feel your loving kindness. Only God knows why. In all the time we have been speaking, I have come to understand that you are a very genuine and lovely person. I feel that you are a genuine jewel and a lovely being. You are such a gentle, sweet slice of heaven to me-and truly an angel descended from above. I feel your kind heart through our messages. I hope this will all lead to a happy future.
What about our conversations? Many people always send photos hopped pictures and create their own amusing stories. Only good things ever happen in their busy lives. In the end, when they live or divide a life with their illusions, they eventually die. The image you had in your mind of whom and what they are is a sweet, bitter lie. I feel as though you have been real with me from the very beginning. I don't want the same for us, although I'd like something similar. You're different from anyone else I've ever known. You're the best I've known. This is the reason that I would like to be with you. I do not want to miss any moment with you. I would like to see you again, but making plans-though a fine dream-is difficult. Do you think such a dream could be achieved? It would be fine.
This season in the city is pleasantly warm. I love it. When I was younger, my girlfriends and I would play in the courtyard around this time. I spent a lot of time with my girlfriends. I remember how beautiful time was back then. Sometimes, from my window, I watch children in the streets and reminisce about those countless playtimes. Sometimes, I wish I was young again and that I could just spend my days playing with my girlfriends for as long as I want-or until my mom calls me home. I can tell you so many stories and so many things.
My dear, tell me whether you are in a long-term journey with anyone. Do you believe in love at first sight? If you saw me in person, would I be the one you would love? I think of you and I wonder if you think that we could become something.
I wish to see you in person. I understand that the situation is very difficult to handle. Do you think our meeting is possible under any circumstance? I know that meeting once would only make us acquaintances. We should meet anyway-because if we do not, we will only write each other about the occurrences and experiences in life that we would share anyway. My dear, I shall not speak of this idea because I do not want to build an illusion. I should stop talking. I've spoken too much. But if you would like to speak of our meeting, I would be greatly intrigued. I know some people only use these Internet conversations through messaging to escape from their own lives. I want you to know that I am not like those other women. If you ever doubt that, please let me know. I don't want to talk to someone who believes I'm trying to deceive them. When you get to know me better, I hope you will see that I'm not like the others. I hope you do not think that of me.
Could we talk? I was not honestly frank with you-for I am a poet because of anxiety. I have spent my entire life with such pain-it would go away if I made such a move with you. I want to send you pink flowers and I want to let you know that I want to go out with you. I think of you as a person with whom I wish to create a family in the near future. All the reflection on this, hovering about me, is unrelenting. My dear, I do not wish to speak about a sad thing. When you view this letter, I hope that anger doesn't melt into your emotions.
Hello, my darling Adam!
Well, I have received your letter and I shall answer it with pleasure. Certainly you like me. During the span of time of our short conversations, I have gotten used to the thought of you-and now I cannot be without you. I cannot pass up your letters because you've become very dear to me-and my existence. It's apparent to me now that, in many respects, we are similar. Our conversations are endless. We can always find common spoken and body language. It was not long ago that we met and already we are able to talk to each other about anything and everything. It truly shows that we can trust each other and trust is one of the strongest attributes of a good friendship. I'm sure you would agree with me. From our short correspondence, I have understood that you're a very serious person with serious intentions. You truly love me and that's very nice to hear. We are just two lonely hearts looking for harmonies-two hearts searching for love. This search unites us. You are my best and last hope.
It is not necessary for us to lie to each other to impress-or for any other foolish reason-for we are completely serious in our intentions. Why waste our time here? Learning as much as possible about each other is more worthwhile. I do not wish to toy with your feelings. The truth is all I have for you. I'm fully assured that you are upfront and honest with me. I like that about you. You tell me everything that is on your mind and in your heart. I wish a stronger connection-a relationship-with you. Does it seem possible? Certainly I understand that we are far from each other and that conducts a problem. But the Internet allows us a fast exchange of conversation for now. I understand that if a relationship should proceed and grow, a change would be necessary. I can use your help and I can help you in return, but I hope it can be without breaking the lives and hearts of the people around us. It is necessary for us to meet. The seriousness of this situation requires it. We need to be seriously prepared for this moment.
I wish to inform you that I have already spoken to my mother about our conversations. I said, "There is a unique, extraordinary, and newly innovative experience in my life that has been designed to comfort my aching heart so that I may live my life to the fullest. My mom is happy that I talk with you. I have told her so much about you. She's so happy for us. Your letters shows that you are a genuine, serious person. Your letters demonstrate your trustworthiness. This is important to me because I know that if we violate that trust, the system will be broken. I understand that honesty is very important in our relationship-along with learning about each other. You can ask me anything you are wondering or questioning. I shall answer your questions with honest answers. If a relationship blooms from this, I will be so happy. My mom wishes us the best of luck. Again, I shall be frank with you as much as possible. I wish you luck in everything you do! With these subtle words, I say "good-bye," and await your reply.
Your truest friend, Soukaina
Chapter TwoI have been here since the beginning, and I shall be until the end of days; for there is no ending to my existence. The human soul is but a part of a burning torch which god separated from Himself at creation. - Kahlil Gibran
Sweetheart, my dearest Soukaina,
I woke up today with sadness in my soul and I asked myself if something was missing from my life. I checked deep into my heart and tears streamed from eyes, lamenting the distance between us. I checked, reflected, and found out that my heart is with you-and I hope in the near future that I can see you and be with you. Your eyes could outshine Georgia night skies. You give me energy to make it through my day. You are my wings so I can fly. I know I have the expertise to live on the ground level, but what is the use if I must force myself to think I am living a happy life?
I noticed that life is so short and we need to take full advantage of it. I hope you hold onto our French songs and replay them when you miss me. They express my true feelings for you. I want to see you in my life-to share my hope and my inspiration. Last night, darling, I could not sleep, but I just looked to your picture and read your letter. I found comfort within them and I realized that I want to spend my life with you. Your heart is my soul mate. Are you willing to share my dreams, my hopes, and be the queen of my life? Truthfully, I remain.
This is the letter that he wrote to her. He hoped that she would respond to him and that she could keep him company for the next nine months to avoid solitude and loneliness. His wife had come ten years ago, but could not adjust to the life so she returned to take care of the children. She and the children had left him to continue their education and live in her birth country.
Today, we were in the car. He worked seven days a week, so there was no time to reflect on his life. But on the way, he kept telling me about Soukaina. In that brief amount of time, it was obvious that he was in love with her. She was kind of hysterical-and that's exactly what he likes. These women are meant to reconcile his soul, but when I looked at him, I found him to be very sad. He asked me, "How can I make my wife love me? I am in a difficult moment. Can you help me?"
Earlier, I had chosen a few songs that Moroccan girls like, but his wife told him that he had copied them from his brother. He went to the Web sites with lyrics and started to copy and paste them. His wife told him for a long time that she loved him and he was happy. I could see it in him. He told me that he'd received an e-mail from an Arab Web site. A person had sent him an e-mail requesting the opportunity to meet him. So, he told me that he'd blocked the e-mail with a strange note and said to never mention his name.
This is the common story of a person living in a foreign country and finding it very difficult to adjust. They all come with hope and one purpose-to work and build a better future for their own children. Some have been successful in their journeys, but others get so lost in a life they don't understand that they cease to survive. Many could not get out and return home, while others were able to return for good to retire. Others married natives-their time and their life stopped because of divorce or because they had children that they could not leave behind. The institution of marriage is a bureaucracy. The system is flawed. The days that pass will never come back. Only the memory of such a life of initial promise remains for us. For us, there is nothing else. We can only live with such a memory-with its joy and its pain. This is the life of immigration.
I still remember twenty-five years ago when I had a hope that we would all be equal. I was criticizing others that could not integrate with the host country and found myself to be wrong. Twenty-five years later, I have to rectify my hope and my inspiration. Even yesterday, I had the hope to be just like Gibran and all the other writers who have immigrated and adopted their new life in the great land. I did the same-in some ways-but my life ended up in discrimination and trials and I was sentenced to twenty-seven months in a federal institution because of the origin of my birth. That incident destroyed my soul and there was no sign of restoration. "Close your eyes and take a deep breath," I said to myself, "and all your pain will go away. You will find peace within yourself." Time was all I had to heal myself.
Excerpted from Soukaina by HASSAN DIBICH Copyright © 2010 by Hassan Dibich. Excerpted by permission.
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